There have been numerous stories about fentanyl in the media lately. The drug, typically prescribed, but also found on the streets, plays a huge part in the current opioid epidemic that plagues the country. It’s important to remember that fentanyl can be risky for anyone who uses it, even those people who take it as pain relief for legitimate injuries or chronic pain.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an opioid painkiller that is used for the treatment of acute or chronic pain. It is typically prescribed for patients who have undergone surgery or for those who suffer the chronic pain of serious or terminal cases of cancer. While it is very effective in those situations, many people are prescribed this or other opioid medications for other types of pain.
The danger with opioids is that tolerance to the medications quickly develops, which means that users have to take more of the medication to continue to have relief from pain. From there, the physical dependence to the medication develops. That means that people using fentanyl will develop withdrawal symptoms when they don’t take their regular doses – or more to compensate for their increasing tolerance.
What Happens When You Are Addicted to Fentanyl?
All opioids, including fentanyl, have a strong risk of addiction. That means that when you use them, especially over a prolonged period of time, it creates changes in our brain that lead to addiction. Once addicted, you will develop overwhelming cravings for fentanyl. Urges to use will be overpowering, taking over all other priorities. When you try to stop using fentanyl, you will experience painful withdrawal symptoms which makes it even harder to resist using more of the drug. If you are addicted to fentanyl and are like most other addicts, you will not be able to stop using the medication without help.
How Can Addiction to Fentanyl Be Prevented?
While there are legitimate medical needs for prescription painkillers like fentanyl, there is no way to guarantee that you will not become addicted if you take it. The only way to be certain is to never use it. However, if you find that fentanyl is recommended to treat chronic pain you are experiencing, there are some steps that you can take to lower your risk of addiction.
- Follow the directions for taking the medication to the letter. Do not take more than what is prescribed without consulting your physician.
- Be aware of potential adverse interactions with other medications and alcohol.
- Don’t discontinue taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
- Don’t use someone else’s prescription medication, and don’t share yours with anyone else.
- Store your medications safely.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about alternatives to fentanyl and other opioids to see if there is anything else that can be done to alleviate your pain. Powerful painkillers like fentanyl should be a last option – one that is only turned to when all other options have been exhausted.
Getting Help for Fentanyl Addiction
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being addicted to fentanyl, know that there is help available to you. It’s recommended that detoxing from fentanyl be done at an addiction treatment center under the care of medical professionals. Medically supervised detox makes the detox process more manageable and much safer. Upon completing detox, it’s important to continue your treatment for addiction by attending outpatient or inpatient rehab. Detox alone is not enough to prevent relapse from happening.
If you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl, My Time Recovery can help you safely detox and begin your journey towards recovery. Contact us today with your questions.